COFFEYVILLE, Kan. - A week after facing each other in the NEO Student Activities Center, Northeastern A&M's Golden Norsemen travel to Coffeyville, Kan., today for a 7 p.m. rematch with the third-ranked Coffeyville Red Ravens at Nellis Hall.
Coach Dustin Grover's Golden Norsemen are a perfect 5-0 on the year following a three-game sweep in the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Classic last weekend.
NEO defeated the Grizzlies 71-68 in Saturday night's final game.
The lone blemish on coach Jay Herkelman's Red Ravens season thus far is a 79-74 loss suffered at the hands on the Golden Norsemen on Nov. 6 in Miami.
Coffeyville stands 3-1 on the season following a 85-62 victory Saturday night over Pratt, Kan., in the Coffeyville Tool Supply Classic.
“It's tough to beat a team twice in a season,” Grover said. “It becomes even tougher when you play the games a week apart.”
The Golden Norsemen will make the 75-mile trek to Coffeyville without starting sophomore forward Cicero Gonzaga and freshman guard Jaren English.
“Cicero and Jaren are both sitting out this game because of the altercation we had with West Plains,” Grover said. “Cicero will probably have to miss Saturday's game with MidAmerican Christian in Oklahoma City because he was directly involved in the fight while Jaren just left the bench area and was not directly involved.”
Averaging 83.2 points per game, the Golden Norsemen are led by veteran center Tulio Cobos with a 14.2 scoring mark. Cobos is averaging 5.8 rebounds per game.
“We've got to be more patient on offense this time around,” Grover said. “We were able to create some turnovers in that first game and get out and score with our transition game.
“I'm sure coach Herkelman and his staff have emphasized to his team that they had too many turnovers against us,” Grover said. “They also gave up too many easy baskets down in the paint.”
Gonzaga's 10 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game will be missed.
“Our main objective will be to keep the ball out of their hands as much as possible,” Grover said. “We outworked them on the offensive glass and we've got to have that kind of effort again.”
Expected to join Cobos (6-5 of Los Teques, Venezuela) in the Golden Norse starting lineup will be sophomore Reggie Mathis (6-3 of Jenks) and freshman Brent Leduff (5-10 of Baton Rouge, La.) at guards with sophomore Kenneth Clayton (6-7 of Houston, Texas) at one forward spot.
“We won't know until right before game time who'll replace Cicero at the other forward spot,” Grover said. “It becomes a matchup situation and right now we' re just not sure.”
Veteran shooting guard Daniel Payne (6-7 of South Bend, Ind.) leads the Red Ravens both in scoring with a 22.5 average and in rebounding with a 7.2 mark.
Freshman power forward Lenny Daniel (6-7 of Richmond, Va.) has a 16.5 scoring average while grabbing seven rebounds per game.
Sophomore point guard J.J. Seymore (5-10 of Atchison, Kan.) is averaging 14.2 points with 23 assists and four steals.
Norse notes: Season passes for 11 remaining NEO home basketball games are available through the athletic office.
An individual pass is $25, while family passes, which allow admission for up to two adults and three students, cost $50. Regular tickets for each game purchased at the gate, are priced at $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens. To purchase season passes, contact Kathie Hulsey, at 918-540-6327.